It’s not often that a defense gives up 32 points in a division game and it’s considered a great performance. But that’s exactly what happened in Week 5 as the Raiders were able to hold the Chiefs to “just” 32 points while forcing Patrick Mahomes to be uncomfortable in the pocket.
But needless to say, the defense needs to improve a ton over the final 11 games of the season if the Raiders want to have any shot of making the playoffs.
In a recent piece by Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus, he ranked all 32 defenses heading into Week 6. Not surprisingly, the Raiders graded out as one of the worst units in the NFL, coming in at No. 27. Here is a snippet of Treash’s thoughts on the group entering the bye week:
The Las Vegas offense has been rolling under Jon Gruden, and the unit’s aggressive approach in Week 5 helped the team beat the defending Super Bowl champions. The defense, however, is still among the worst in the NFL. By expected points added per play allowed, the Raiders ranked 31st in 2017, 32nd in 2018 and 32nd in 2019. So far this year, they have made a modest improvement to 27th.
In defense of the Raiders, the team has suffered through a significant amount of injuries on that side of the ball this season as players such as Maurice Hurst, Nick Kwiatoski and Damon Arnette have all missed time. While this defense isn’t expected to finish as a top-10 unit, we have yet to see them play a full game together.
The schedule does get easier for the Raiders on defense and that should help the unit improve. But they also need players like Cory Littleton and Maliek Collins to improve dramatically for this group to take a leap. With a bye week to get right and healthy, look for the Raiders to improve on defense significantly over the next few months of the season.